21/03/2018 - 14:36

EPA approves Kimberley irrigation plan

21/03/2018 - 14:36

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The environmental watchdog has recommended approval of the first stage of China-backed Kimberley Agricultural Investment’s Carlton Plain project, which comprises a 3,000-hectare irrigated development north-west of Kununarra.

EPA approves Kimberley irrigation plan
KAI has formed a three-stage development for grain, cotton and horticulture.

The environmental watchdog has recommended approval of the first stage of China-backed Kimberley Agricultural Investment’s Carlton Plain project, which comprises a 3,000-hectare irrigated development north-west of Kununarra.

KAI owns the 16,000ha Carlton Plain station, where it has a three-stage development for grain, cotton and horticulture that uses a combination of surface and pressurised irrigation technologies.

The Environmental Protection Authority has recommended approval for the initial proposal, with a number of conditions attached related to the environmental management plan.

“The EPA considered the proposal’s potential impacts on riparian vegetation, the Ord River as well as impacts to local Aboriginal heritage and placed conditions on the proponent to protect the integrity of these important values,” EPA chair Tom Hatton said.

The conditions include complying with the provisions of the Ord River surface water plan, maintaining soil productivity and habitat for migratory birds, protecting the Carlton wetland and improving the ecological condition of the vegetation along the Ord River.

The EPA’s report to the environment minister is now open for a two-week public appeal period.

“A number of irrigated agriculture proposals are currently undergoing environmental assessment, and each proposal will be assessed on its individual environmental impacts,” Mr Hatton said.

The Carlton development is located adjacent to the Ord River floodplain Ramsar site and nearby to KAI’s 6,600ha Goomig farmlands.

KAI signed a lease agreement for Goomig with the state government in November last year.

The company also has an option to buy the 5,000ha Knox Plains and owns the 4,000ha Mantinea in the Kimberley region.

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